A wholesaler suspected of having sold tons of “made in France” vegetables in fact Spanish

A wholesaler suspected of having sold tons of “made in France” vegetables in fact Spanish
A wholesaler suspected of having sold tons of “made in France” vegetables in fact Spanish

“FRANCIZATION” – The prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône has announced the establishment of a vast investigation into a wholesaler, suspected of having bought in 2020 and 2021 several hundred tons of vegetables and of having disguised their origin.

LCI editorial staff – 2021-07-05T17:45:01.349+02:00

Zucchini, peppers, squash or Spanish asparagus become French, with a simple change of label. This is what a wholesaler is accused of, at the heart of a vast investigation carried out under the authority of the Tarascon public prosecutor’s office and announced on Monday, July 5 by the Bouches-du-Rhône prefecture.

This fraud, called the “francization”, consists for a company “to buy products abroad, often at low prices, and to resell them claiming that they come from French production”, the prefecture explained in a press release. “The interest lies in the differences in price and seasonality of fruits and vegetables between producing countries […] Last June, Spanish peppers traded on the wholesale market at around 2 euros / kg while French peppers, whose harvest has only just started, can be bought at nearly 3 euros / kg “, she explains.

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According to the prefecture, it was impossible “for its customers, and the end consumer, to realize that they were, in fact, Spanish vegetables.” In fact, labels indicating Spanish origin on packages and packaging were replaced by labels indicating French production. Invoices on which was written “origin: France” were also published by the wholesaler.

“This wholesaler could also have acted with the complicity of a fruit and vegetable conditioner responsible for repackaging certain vegetables in fillet and labeling them as originating in France”, also added the prefecture.

An offense punishable by 2 years in prison and a fine of 300,000 euros

This file, prepared for several months with in particular the General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), resulted in a control operation in mid-June. “The investigations are still ongoing”, confirmed for his part the prosecutor of Tarascon Laurent Gumbau.

If this misleading commercial practice offense is established, it will be punishable by imprisonment for two years and a fine of 300,000 euros.

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In terms of “francization”, the 2020 activity report of the DGCCRF shows 392 controlled establishments, for a total of “overall rate of anomalies” by 25%. 23 establishments have been or will be the subject of criminal reports, according to the prefecture.

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